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Kuwaitis to the rescue

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Top officials from the oil rich Middle East nation of Kuwait arrived in the country on Sunday December 2, 2018 to hold several meetings with officials of the George Weah’s government aimed at reinforcing their involvement with Liberia’s reconstruction process in the areas of roads and ports rehabilitation.

The delegation comes at the time the Weah administration is seeking loans and assistance here and there for the construction of a coastal highway and other road and bridge projects in central Monrovia.

The Kuwaitis through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development signed several loan agreements with the government of Liberia for the construction of roads and the rehabilitation of the Port of Greenville, as part of efforts to strengthen the bilateral ties between both nations following the opening of the Liberian Embassy in Kuwait City by former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during a two day state visit on June 15, 2010.

Most of these projects have been ongoing, while other agreements remained uncompleted with both nations finalizing negotiations to put pen to paper.The Kuwaiti delegation which comprises of five top officials will be in the country for 13- days and are expected to meet with the Ministers of Finance Development Planning Mr. Samuel Tweah, Public Works, Mabutu Nypan and the Minister of State Mr. Nathaniel McGill.

The delegation will hold a technical discussion with the Infrastructure Implementation Unit (IIU) at the Ministry of Public Works on projects and review available projects.The Kuwaiti delegation will visit project sites, and are expected to sign an agreement which will lead to the implementation of the Phase II of the Konia-Voinjama road. The delegation will also hold discussion on the loan agreement for the development and rehabilitation of the Port of Greenville in Sinoe County.

Brief backgrounds
On March 21, 2016, a Loan Agreement was signed in Monrovia between the Government of Liberia and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. As part of the deal the Fund was expected to extend a loan of Kuwaiti Dinars five million (KD.5, 000,000/-) (i.e. equivalent to about 17 million US$) to help finance the Gbarnga – Salayea Road Project.

The Loan Agreement was signed on behalf of the Government of Liberia by then Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh and on behalf of the Fund by Mr. Ghanem Sulaiman Al-Ghenaiman, Deputy Director-General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development in attendance was Mr. Thamer Al-Failakawi, Regional Manager for West African countries at the Fund.

The Project consists of construction works to attain an all-weather asphalted road of an approximate length of about 81 km and a width of 7.5 m. (with 1.5 m. shoulders on each side) between Gbarnga and Salayea. The Project also includes construction works of drainage facilities, re- construction or rehabilitation of bridges, protection, safety and environmental protection facilities, as well as the consultancy services to review the detailed design and supervision of construction, and institutional support, and land acquisition. The Project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

The total cost of the Project is estimated at about 9,095.51 billion Liberian Dollars, the equivalent of about KD. 28.921 million, of which the foreign exchange is equivalent to about KD. 24.821 million, which represents about 85.8% of the total cost of the Project. The Fund’s Loan will cover about 17% of the total cost of the Project, or of about 20% of the foreign exchange component of the costs of the Project.

The Project is also being financed, together with the Fund, by the Saudi Fund for Development with loan in the amount of about 5.88 million Kuwaiti Dinars representing 20% of the total cost of the Project, the OPEC Fund for International Development with loan in the amount of about 5.88 million Kuwaiti Dinars representing 20% of the total cost of the Project, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development with loan in the amount of about 4.41 million Kuwaiti Dinars representing 16.8% of the total cost of the Project, and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa with loan in the amount of about 2.61 million Kuwaiti Dinars representing 10% of the total cost of the Project, while the government will provide for the financing of the rest of the project costs.

On December 10, 2012, a Loan Agreement was signed between Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the National Port Authority. The Kuwait Fund was to make a loan of Kuwaiti Dinars (K.D.) 4 million (equivalent to about U.S. $ 14 million) to assist in financing the rehabilitation project of the Port of Greenville. A Guarantee Agreement relating to the Loan was also signed between the Government of Liberia and Kuwait Fund.

The Project aims at supporting economic activities in the south eastern regions of Liberia through meeting the increasing demand on shipping and exporting products of the regions’ natural resources, particularly lumber, palm oil and iron ore, through the Port of Greenville, and by improving the quality of service, efficiency and security of the Port.

By Othello B. Garblah

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